Regardless of how the world changes, organisations that thrive will always consider the emotion of their customers, employees and partners. Often referred to as the experience economy, the new world continues to evolve to meet the more emotional and connective needs we have in our lives.

Customer-led disruption has dramatically impacted business, blurring the physical, digital and emotional worlds with the customer at the centre. Organisations that have built on human needs and responded to customers with innovation and value have reaped the rewards. How are these organisations thriving in today’s vibrant and ever-changing environment?

Defined as the customer’s perception of all the interactions they have with an organisation and the value it creates for them, customer experience encompasses emotions, memories and value created with each interaction. Successful organisations transform themselves to be customer-led through the professional discipline of customer experience management.

Optimising the experiences deep into the entire organisation helps drive mutual and connected value with human needs at the core of what we do. Starting with human needs means designing experiences in a rapidly changing market and the realities that we, as customers of many brands every day, live and experience.

Creating brilliant engagement between a human and an organisation has become an established discipline with tools, frameworks and transformative change impacts. It’s about co-ordinating and optimising the experience across channels and meeting the needs of the customer.

Digital transformation is a journey with multiple connected intermediary goals, in the end striving towards continuous optimisation across processes, divisions and the business ecosystem of a hyper-connected age where building the right bridges is key to success. A digital transformation strategy aims to create the capabilities of fully leveraging the possibilities and opportunities of new technologies and their impact faster, better and in more innovative ways in the future.

End-to-end customer experience optimisation, formal change plans, the creation and practice of agility and innovation are key drivers of digital transformation. Adopting and leveraging all the new ways we can create experiences has made available phenomenal opportunities. Organisations that adopt true transformation create human-centred design-thinking and can create an avenue for the development of new revenue sources and costs-savings.

Customer experience means we start with understanding the customer ecosystem – what they do, what they value, what they want to achieve – and enable this through digital channels but also through building deep emotional understanding and connection with customers. So it’s the art and science of blending both basic needs (buy something I want) and emotional needs (I want to show I’m successful) that is most powerful. Because in the end, the human heart hasn’t changed.

The critical nature of this work has led to a rise in executive focus centred on cultural change and organisational adoption of customer, employee and partner-centric thinking. All C-suite executives have a role in transforming their company’s customer experience, and should foster their employees’ development of new skills, techniques and approaches like loyalty reward programmes, customer journey mapping, customer listening rooms and more.

Cross-organisational adoption is driven by customer experience professionals with the skills, fortitude and experience to lead change. In 2014, the Customer Experience Professionals Association established a robust certification to recognise experts in this field. Today there are more than 400 certified customer experience professionals.

We continue to provide executives and customer experience professionals with resources through shared best practices, ongoing leading-edge conversations and exposure to solutions. We help drive consumer and marketplace awareness of the profession and continue to showcase organisations striving to be customer centered. These organisations are witness to an economy where the only differentiation is now the customer experience.

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